5 Ways to spot scams online

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As a proud supporter of the ACCC’s annual National Consumer Fraud Week campaign, eharmony is reminding users how to stay safe online by knowing how to identify and avoid scams. With this year’s focus on social media and dating and romance scams, we’ve collaborated with our Trust & Safety team and the ACCC to identify the key trends and safety tips when it comes to protecting yourself online.

While online dating is a safe and positive experience for most, unfortunately there are those few people who misrepresent themselves or attempt to take advantage of vulnerable members. According to the ACCC’s 2016 Targeting scams report, dating and romance scams had the highest reported financial losses of nearly $42 million, with females and over 55s the most at risk. Social media was a particularly active contact method with reported losses of $9.5 million in 2016 compared to $3.8 million in 2015.

As Australia’s most trusted dating site, eharmony has an entire Trust & Safety team dedicated to monitoring the site 24/7 and preventing fraud. While there are extensive safety measures in place, there is still a need for Australians to take responsibility for their online safety and understand what signs to look out for  anything suspicious.

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Here are our top 5 rules for preventing online scams:

  1. Check their profile

Check the profile of new matches and look out for things like: grammar and spelling errors, whether they have any photos and an ‘About Me’ that sounds too good to be true.

  1. Don’t send money to someone you’ve never met in person

While it seems obvious, unfortunately many people still fall victim to this. If they start creating elaborate stories to play on your sympathy or straight out ask you for cash, this is a massive red flag that says their intentions are based on something other than finding love.

  1. Don’t share personal photos or videos

Be cautious when sharing personal pictures or videos, especially if you’ve never met them before in person. Scammers are known to blackmail their targets using compromising material.

  1. Don’t share personal information with someone you have never met in person

Scammers will often ask for strange details that could be used for compromising your online identity. Be wary if they start asking for things like your address, what school you went to, the name of your first pet or your birthday.

  1. Do an image search

Do an image search of your admirer to help determine if they really are who they say they are. You can use image search services such as Google or TinEye.

As a final word of advice, always remember that it’s not a genuine relationship until you’ve met in person. Be wary of someone who makes excuses not to progress things offline. We now have a quick and easy new way to report a suspicious match or a match that has violated eharmony’s Terms and Conditions.  Instead of emailing us, you can now report the match to us directly! To report a match, click on the menu in the bottom right corner of the match’s profile photo or your communication page (the menu appears as 3 dots), from here, you will be provided an option to “Block This Match” or “Report This Match”. Once reported, this information will be sent directly to our Trust & Safety team for review. We can assure you that all reports are kept completely confidential.LogoAre you cyber smart? Got any other tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter!  Or simply sign up to eharmony today and review your matches for free.

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